Rig Roundup: Entry-Level RVs Perfect for Beginners

Aug 22, 2022 | Rigs

Rig Roundup: Entry-Level RVs Perfect for Beginners

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the volume and amenities of modern-day RVs. These models stand out for their safety, ease of use, and other newbie-friendly features.

By Amanda Adler

Photo courtesy of nuCamp RV

Shopping for your first RV can be a daunting task as a trip to your local dealer offers a seemingly endless variety of floor plans and options to consider. When touring rigs of all sizes, it’s hard not to be wowed by the bells and whistles that many of these modern tiny homes have to offer. But you don’t have to break the bank to have a great camping experience. Many entry-level RVs offer everything you need without a lot of extras. 

Important Features to Look for in Your First RV

For beginning RVers, bigger isn’t always better. If you’re unfamiliar with driving a big rig or towing 20-plus extra feet of trailer behind you, you may want to start with a smaller RV that’s just the right size for adventure.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for your first RV:

Drive and Towability 

If you already own a truck or large SUV, be aware of your current towing capacity and choose an RV that’s well below the maximum weight allowed. When it comes to safety, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Be sure to discuss sway bars with your RV dealer, and ensure they’re included in your purchase. Likewise, if you’re planning to purchase a motorhome, be sure to take several options out on test drives to ensure you’re comfortable navigating in a big rig.

Safety and Upkeep 

Think about other safety features that you may want to help you feel more comfortable, such as backup cameras and tire pressure monitoring systems. When it comes to upkeep, be sure you understand what is and what isn’t covered under warranty for the models you’re considering. 

Ease of Use 

Once you arrive at your campsite, you’ll be eager to switch to vacation mode as quickly as possible. Consider which exterior features will help make your setup a breeze. If you’re planning to hook up to campground power and water lines, seek out rigs with enough exterior storage to hold your hoses and prep materials, along with other items you’re planning to use at your site. Other optional niceties, such as a power tongue jack and power stabilizers, can also help the setup process go more smoothly.

Starter RVs We Love

From cozy quarters perfect for solo travelers or couples to kid-friendly models that sleep up to seven, here are some of the best starter RVs on the market today.

2022 KZ RV Sportsmen Classic 160RBT Travel Trailer Front
Photo courtesy of KZ RV

KZ Sportsmen Classic 160RBT

Perhaps the best starter RV for a family of four, the KZ Sportsmen Classic 160RBT offers a smooth introduction to RVing in an easy-to-tow package. This hybrid trailer has dedicated living and dining spaces, a full bath, and two 54-by-74-inch tent beds that fold out come bedtime.

SPECS
UVW 2,740 pounds
GVWR 3,500 pounds
Hitch Weight 310 pounds
Exterior Length 19 feet, 2 inches
Exterior Height 8 feet, 11 inches
Fresh Water Tank 20 gallons
Gray Tank 30 gallons
MSRP $27,017
2022 KZ RV Sportsmen Classic 160RBT Travel Trailer Floorplan
Photo courtesy of KZ RV

FEATURES AND OPTIONS WE LOVE:

A simple, ready-to-go option, this rig comes with everything you need to get out on the road and explore. Those looking to take the road less traveled can add the optional Off-Road Package, which includes 15-inch mud tires with aluminum rims, extra ground clearance, an electronically-controlled heated holding tank, and a double entry step.

More information on this RV can be found here.


nuCamp TAB
Photo courtesy of nuCamp RV

nuCamp TAB CS-S

The tiny nuCamp TAB CS-S teardrop camper offers a cozy space for one or two travelers to rest after a day full of adventure. It has a dinette that converts into a comfortable sleeping area with multiple configuration options, including a full-sized bed or dual twin beds.

SPECS
UVW 2,075 pounds
GVWR 2,900 pounds
Hitch Weight 208 pounds
Exterior Length 15 feet, 3 inches
Exterior Height 7 feet, 8 inches
Fresh Water Tank 19 gallons
Black Tank 5 gallons
Gray Tank 18 gallons
MSRP $35,861
TAB 320 CS S Floor Plan
Photo courtesy of nuCamp RV

FEATURES AND OPTIONS WE LOVE:

The rig’s rear hatch opens to reveal a well-equipped kitchen, including a microwave, two-burner glass-top stove, and 12-volt refrigerator, giving you plenty of room to make a campground meal—without creating clutter in your living space.

More information on this RV can be found here.


Jayco Interior
Photo courtesy of Jayco

Jayco Swift 20T

Those looking to experiment with vanlife will love the Jayco Swift 20T. Offering dual couches that convert into a king-sized bed, a roomy rear bath, and a standard 190-watt roof-mounted solar panel, this campervan can take you anywhere from a campground to the wilderness with ease.

SPECS
GVWR 9,350 pounds
Fuel Type Gasoline
Chassis RAM ProMaster
Fuel Capacity 24 gallons
Exterior Length 20 feet, 11 inches
Exterior Height 9 feet, 3 inches
Fresh Water Tank 27 gallons
Black Tank 13 gallons
Gray Tank 14.5 gallons
MSRP $145,050
Jayco Swift 20T
Photo courtesy of Jayco

FEATURES AND OPTIONS WE LOVE:

Driving in the city is no problem with the rear park assist system that visually and audibly guides you into tight spots.

More information on this RV can be found here


Ozark 1650BHK
Photo courtesy of Forest River

Forest River Ozark 1650BHK

A convenient beginner model for families, the Ozark 1650BHK travel trailer offers room for seven people in a lightweight, no-slide-out footprint. Featuring double-over-double bunks that are ideal for kids of any age, as well as indoor and outdoor cooking spaces, this rig gets you spending time outdoors as a family.

SPECS
UVW 3,579 pounds
GVWR 4,810 pounds
Hitch Weight 410 pounds
Exterior Length 22 feet, 5 inches
Exterior Height 10 feet, 2 inches
Fresh Water Tank 43 gallons
Black Tank 30 gallons
Gray Tank 30 gallons
MSRP $30,486
Ozark 1650BHK
Photo courtesy of Forest River

FEATURES AND OPTIONS WE LOVE:

Add the optional Ascent Package for a sleek exterior design, including smooth fiberglass walls and upgraded steel tires.

More information on this RV can be found here.


Coleman Lantern Ex
Photo courtesy of Dutchmen

Dutchman Coleman Lantern 251TQ

For those traveling with ATVs, motocross bikes, or other large outdoor recreation items, a toy hauler helps maximize storage for these prized possessions. The Coleman Lantern 251TQ is the perfect starter model, giving you 3,918 pounds of cargo capacity, sleeping room for four, and an attractive decor package that makes the rig feel like home.

SPECS
UVW 5,762 pounds
GVWR 9,680 pounds
Hitch Weight 858 pounds
Exterior Length 29 feet, 11 inches
Exterior Height 11 feet, 5 inches
Fresh Water Tank 60 pounds
Black Tank 42 gallons
Gray Tank 42 gallons
MSRP $41,840
CMLant_251TQ
Photo courtesy of Dutchmen

FEATURES AND OPTIONS WE LOVE:

To truly make the most of your time camping, add the optional ramp patio system to increase your indoor-outdoor living space.

More information on this RV can be found here.


Thor Class C
Photo courtesy of THOR Motorcoach

THOR Four Winds 25M

Looking for the best starter Class C RV? The Four Winds 25M checks all the boxes for those buying a motorhome for the first time. The sleek murphy bed design maximizes the living space in this small, easy-to-drive rig, and the cab-over bunk area provides sleeping room for extra travelers joining you on the road.

SPECS
GVWR 12,500 pounds
Hitch Weight Rating 8,000 pounds
Fuel Type Gasoline
Chassis Ford E-Series (optional Chevrolet Chassis)
Fuel Capacity 55 gallons
Exterior Length 25 feet, 2 inches
Exterior Height 11 feet, 2 inches
Fresh Water Tank 40 gallons
Black Tank 33 gallons
Gray Tank 33 gallons
MSRP $142,950
Thor Floor Plan
Photo courtesy of THOR Motorcoach

FEATURES AND OPTIONS WE LOVE:

The optional holding tanks with heating pads allow full-time travelers (and those seeking to extend their camping season) more flexibility come wintertime.

More information on this RV can be found here.


Togo RV is part of a joint venture, partially owned by THOR Industries, Inc., of which Dutchmen, Jayco, KZ RV, and THOR Motor Coach are subsidiaries.

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Amanda Adler

Amanda Adler is a writer who splits her time between traveling the U.S. in her RV and soaking up the air conditioning in her home in Orlando, Florida. While on the road she seeks out national parks, theme parks, kid- and dog-friendly hiking trails, and local businesses that tout their wares as being “craft,” “artisanal” or “bespoke.”

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